25 AUGUST 2014.
At first, Nigerian soldiers were in good spirits. Shells could be seen hitting Boko Haram insurgents. Soldiers seemed to be in high spirits, dancing traditional dances. Then a couple of Toyota Hilux trucks were spotted. When artillery struck something that created a huge explosion, the soldiers shouted with joy. They thought maybe they’d hit another suicide bomber.
A soldier looked with his binoculars to see the result of the artillery, and it seemed he already thought he achieved victory over Boko Haram militants trying to overrun the base. They kept coming, but the Soldiers were unfazed. Air support was coming. They shouted for joy when they hit another suicide bomber with mortars.
Yet one hour later, the soldiers were not so joyful, when most soldiers fled in panic. Leaving behind at least 30 armoured vehicles and dozens of weapons while retreating.
Initially, the soldiers were able to repel an attack by Boko Haram with ease, killing many of their fighters. They kept on it for hours, expending precious ammunition until they were low on ammo.
Then a bigger number of the Boko Haram gunmen arrived from the other side of the town and engaged the soldiers who were critically low on ammo. There were 100 vehicles-worth of fighters, and all were well equipped and fought hard. Eventually, Nigerian troops ran low on supplies, and then, on bullets. They could not stand their superior force and had to retreat into Cameroon.
It was not an orderly retreat. Soldiers stripped out of their uniforms and abandoned their equipment on the road as they fled into neighbouring Cameroon. First into a Cameroonian village called Amtide, before surrendering to their Cameroonian counterparts.
The soldiers warned the Cameroonians that Boko Haram was coming, and suggested that they should run too. The Cameroonians could see in their faces that they were scared. Undeterred, the gendarmes holding the position stayed put. The Nigerian troops then handed the Cameroonians their guns.
The Nigerian soldiers were struck with horror when Boko Haram fighters crossed the border into Cameroon and launched an attack on where Nigerian soldiers were held in a locality near Fotokol. Cameroonian soldiers were ready, killing 27 Boko Haram fighters, pushing them back into Nigeria.
The complete collapse of Nigerian troops came as a shock to Nigerians, particularly as it was apparently at the hands of less than a thousand gunmen.
The Cameroon government announced that its army killed 27 members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect near a northern town to save 480 Nigerian soldiers running away from the terrorist.
An officer in the 7th Infantry Division who had fought alongside the troops said while they were battling waves upon waves of Boko Haram fighters, he and his comrades had requested airstrikes and logistical support from their superiors.
Commanders told them help was incoming, he said, but it never arrived. The commanders themselves, he added, quickly went from barely present to completely absent, leaving only low ranking troops.
Its incredible the troops held on for so long without air support. As we can see it was not lack of will to fight or discipline that caused the Nigerian army retreat, but treacherous leadership.
Footage of weapons left behind surfaced on various Boko Haram affiliated social networking sites, boasting of their victory.
2 SEPTEMBER 2014
Barely a week after, about 250 Nigerian soldiers stationed in Banki, a Cameroonian border town with Nigeria, have fled into the neighboring country, according to reports from Cameroonian soldiers in the area.
The account says that the Nigerian soldiers left their duty post and fled with their arms, first into a neighboring village called Amtide, before surrendering to their Cameroonian counterparts.
The soldiers were repatriated to Mubi, in Adamawa State, following debriefing by Cameroon. The Nigerian army spokesman General Chris Olukolade downplayed the issue. “The Nigerian troops that were found in Cameroon was as a result of a sustained battle between the troops and the terrorists around the borders with Cameroon which saw the Nigerian troops charging through the borders in a tactical manoeuvre,” he explained.
“The Nigerian troops that were found in Cameroon was as a result of a sustained battle between the troops and the terrorists around the borders with Cameroon which saw the Nigerian troops charging through the borders in a tactical manoeuvre,” he explained.